Yogapreneur: Pablo Imani Blends Traditional with Cutting Edge

The Uganda-based yogi invites us to reconnect to our source

black man in yoga pose

Pablo Imani demonstrates a side split

How has yoga changed your life?

Yoga saved my life from my own self destructive nature and changed the course of my life to that of being a satellite clog in the machine to that of being purposeful. It opened my eyes to a greater form of success, a success where I am at peace and calm from within my being, to seeing others around me touched by Afrikan Yoga and changing their own lives, for the better, even my house help and baby sitter in Uganda practices yoga I love to see others realize their own peace it is truly joyful.

Being that you are one of the few Black entrepreneurs in the yoga industry, do you feel that you have inspired other people of color to practice Yoga?

I get confirmation regularly that others are inspired. For example, the other day I and a few men were stretching publicly outside London and a young man ran up to me and said “You’re the Afrikan Yoga guy! I am going into yoga because of you and I am going to set up my own studio.”  Another man of color said to me after a workshop in Manchester “You’re my hero! I have never seen a black man do yoga the way you do and this has kept me going.”

What are some ways you would suggest to get more people of color involved in yoga?

To get more people involved in yoga, myths around religion and gender have to be exposed and explained with clarity, compassion and understanding. It has to be [shown] that anyone can do this and one does not have to be thin, pale or twist themselves in pretzel shapes. Simple breathing exercises are also yoga and that is start to greater quality of health.

What are your plans for the future?

I have developed an Afrikan Yoga app, which is now available. My charitable arm is working with street children in Kampala partnering with an NGO Child Hope Uganda where we are teaching yoga and also providing a means for the youngsters to create their own cottage industries by setting up a yoga accessory social enterprise.

[My wife] Ife and I are currently developing the Afrikan Yoga Literacy project and have been developing a hard copy and digital media library in Uganda in order to get more people to read as the illiteracy rate is very high. The Afrikan Yoga retreats and detox programs are been marketed with our other partner Bunyonyi Resort Safari and Teacher Certification is going to be held in Uganda, and Aswan Egypt, we are aiming to expand retreats and certification intensives in other countries in Africa and the Caribbean.

I will also be publishing 2 more books next year and currently deciding whether to self-publish or publish through a publishing company.

Connect with Pablo on Twitter and Facebook.

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